Family Service Manager Grace Conley talks “the coolest house you have ever seen!”
How do I explain the complexity and generosity of the Ronald McDonald House in one
page? I do not believe it is possible, but I will try to describe its profound impact and nurturing
As a recent graduate, I did not think I would be fortunate enough to find a job that I
was truly passionate about right out of college. However, upon graduation, I was hired at
Nationwide Children’s Hospital to work with the young siblings of patients in the hospital. Over
the past year, I have spent countless hours interacting with children while their precious
brother or sister was staying in the hospital.
One afternoon, I was playing a very intense game
of Monopoly with a sweet 4 year old boy. I was engaging in small conversation during our
game and asked him, “Did you have a long drive to the hospital this morning?” He replied, “No
we walked…and we live in the coolest house you have ever seen.” Of course, this statement
sparked my interest! I asked him, “Well, what makes it so special?” He then went on to say,
“Grace… it has a lego room….a splash pad….so, so, so many cookies every single day…Ohio
State Buckeye stuff… oh! and a movie theatre – me and my brother watch a ton of action
I acknowledged his statement sincerely, but I assumed it was most likely just
a childish exaggeration of where he actually lived. When it was time for pick-up, I told his
mother about our conversation. She teared up and explained to me that they had been living
at the Ronald McDonald House for over two hundred days due to her daughter’s extended
stay in the NICU. Her two other children had started to truly consider it their home. Without
ever walking through the doors of the Ronald McDonald House, I felt entirely connected to
this amazing organization.
During my time spent at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, many of the conversations I
have with families are humbling, and they make a difference in my day and my outlook.
However, my experience with that little boy and his mother really stood out to me. I
immediately wanted to learn more about the mission of the Ronald McDonald House and find
a way to get involved.
A few months later, I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity to
work there. At the house, I have been welcomed with warm smiles, friendly encounters, and
impactful stories by employees, volunteers and residents. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of
such a place? What we do at the Ronald McDonald House has a positive impact on more
people than we will ever know, and for that reason, I am truly proud and honored to be a part
of such an amazing organization.